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Back to School – A Recap of Grey’s Anatomy’s “Time Warp”

When I heard that this  Thursday’s installment of Grey’s Anatomy was going to be a “flashback episode,” one that intermingled the characters’ present day experiences with events of the past,  in order to shed some light on the characters’ current behavior, I found myself struck with an overwhelming sense of deja vu.  I couldn’t kick this feeling that I had been here before.  That I had seen this before . . .

Oh, yeah . . . now I remember . . .

In an effort to differentiate himself from former Chief Webber McBoozy (although after 45 days of sobriety, I guess it is no longer appropriate, nor fair, to call him that), and to make a name for himself as the “touchy feely” Nu-Chief, Dr. McDreamy Shepherd reinstitutes Lecture Day at Seattle Grace.

“See?  I’m the sensitive one.  Look into my puppy dog eyes,  and tell me I’m not sensitive.  Just don’t make me cry, because I’ll punch your lights out, if you do.”

As guest lecturers, Shepherd commandeers Bailey, Callie, and Chief McBoozy Webber (sorry, force of habbit).  Webber takes a bit of extra persuading on Shepherd’s part.  After all, learning that you have just been demoted from “Chief of Surgery” to just plain “surgeon” does not exactly make one feel all “happy-go-teachy.”  Nonetheless, Webber ultimately agrees to guest lecture, and what appears to be the entire staff of Seattle Grace packs a rather large auditorium to see him do so. 

(Seriously, Seattle Grace?  Your entire staff?  This is why you aren’t ranked in the top ten!  This is why your patients die all the time!  Doesn’t anyone practice medicine here any more?)

But I digress . . . Here’s what we learned from our three lecturers:

Webber’s Lesson: “When I was your age . . .”

Our first flashback took us all the way back to 1982 – a time when the medical profession was very much an all-boys club, an all white boys club;  a time when doctors were largely ignorant about and frightened of immune system-related diseases and homosexuality.  It was also a time when people dressed like this . . .

Back then Webber was a just teetotaling, ambitious young resident trying to make a name for himself at Seattle Grace, while, at the same time, boinking Meredith’s Mommy, Ellis Grey, in the on-call room.  Yes, apparently, they did that in the 80s too.  Talk about sexually transmitted diseases . . .  How often do you think they sterilize that place?

“28 more years of this and we will ALL be under quarantine . . .”

When Ellis and Webber encounter a patient with a rare bacterial infection, they begin to suspect that he may have GRID, Gay Related Immune Deficiency Disorder, or AIDS, as it is now commonly called.  This was a highly sensitive subject for any doctor to broach during that time, let alone a young resident with minimal job security.  After all, few cases of the disorder had been discovered at this point, and very little was known about the disease. 

Apparently, homosexuality was just not something you talked about back then, it being a time before

 Will and Grace and . . .  well . . .

Grey’s Anatomy!

Initially, the patient takes Webber’s inquiry into his sexual orientation very badly.  He leaves the hospital in a huff, refusing treatment.  Unfortunately, a few weeks later, he returns, now extremely ill and desperate for help.  The problem is that, now that his secret is out, most of the doctors and nurses at Seattle Grace are afraid of infection and unwilling to help him.  THIS MUST BE A JOB FOR  . . .

 . . . no, not them, just Young Webber and Young Ellis Grey.

The dynamic duo risk their careers and, as far as they know, their lives, to save this patient.  Fortunately, the surgery goes well.  (Yay!) But . . . then the patient dies anyway (Boo!)  But, not before Webber learns of his own fallibility and the importance of maintaining your humanity as a surgeon.  (Yay!)  Then, afterwards, Ellis bullies the future Chief McBoozy into taking his first alcoholic drink. (Boo!)   But, before, that, we got to see how adorable Meredith looked at age 5.  (Yay!)

Needless to say, it was a very emotional rollercoaster-esque lecture.  Yet, at its conclusion, Webber gives a rousing speech about the importance of doctors adhering to the Hippocratic Oath.  He then raises his right hand and recites the Oath himself.  Admittedly, it was some pretty powerful stuff, and really served to highlight Webber’s true love of medicine.  Clearly affected by his own speech, the Old Chief ultimately decides to accept McDreamy’s offer and return to work.  (Yay!)

Bailey’s Lesson: Shark tales, a.k.a. The Birth of the Nazi

Before Miranda Bailey became the Nazi; before she turned into a strong, smart, powerful, but often angry, woman who looks like this . . .

Bailey was an overachieving but painfully shy and polite-to-a-fault intern, who looked like this . . .

The year was 2003.  While medicine had come a long way since 1982, there were still many obstacles for women who wanted to succeed in the healthcare industry.  And for many women, their biggest obstacle was one another.  That’s right.   Mean girls, unfortunately, stuck around long past the 80s . .

This movie came out in 2004 . . .

Despite the fact that Mean Girls wasn’t due out in theaters for another year, one of them had managed to sneak into Seattle Grace.  Bailey’s resident “advisor” is  a bitch with a Capital B.  And, like any two-dimensional villian, this 30-something year old woman tortured Young Bailey with the zeal, intensity (and maturity) of a 16-year old cheerleader who just found out that her boyfriend has decided to go to prom with the class nerd.

Be careful Bailey!  This never ends well for people like you . . .

Fortunately, for Bailey, she is due for a major personality transplant and stat!  And who performs said transplant, you ask?  None other than Superman Webber of course!  “Surgery is a shark tank, and sharks have teeth.  Be a shark, not a minnow,” the then-Chief instructs Bailey. 

And I bet you know what happens next . . .

That’s right!  Our Neo Nazi Bailey solves a difficult medical mystery.  Then,  in what we now know was the first of her eloquently angry, yet rousing, monologues, Bailey hands her bitchy resident advisor her ass on a platter for ordering countless unnecessary surgeries for a patient, who merely required medication.  “You are going to be a brilliant surgeon one day,” commends Webber (and we know that he is right!)

In addition to being an awesome surgeon, Bailey is also terrific public speaker.  She owns both the stage and her audience, awarding them for class participation with chocolates.  And as a nearly perpetual student, I can tell you that candy bribes WORK and work well!

Callie’s Lesson: “Everybody f&*ks Alex.”

You know who’s not so hot in the public speaking department?  The typically loud and brash Callie.  After vomiting up her breakfast in anticipation of the big event, Callie stumbles around stage, head tucked inside her notes, mumbling almost incoherently about the club footed patient her and Alex cared for back in 2006, when she was a new resident.

With Alex’s help, however, Callie ultimately recovers nicely.  She recounts for the group the immensely gratifying experience of repairing the leg of a 28-year old student who was told he could never walk.  When all of the other doctors discounted the patient, and berated Callie for mismanaging his expectations, Callie refused to give up.  As a result, this formerly bed-ridden man can now roam freely (with the help of some crutches, of course). 

And this wouldn’t be Grey’s Anatomy if the story didn’t end with an on-call room boink fest between Alex and Callie . . .

“I am so much better at doing this than public speaking  . . .”

Apparently, Alex has screwed the entire staff at Seattle Grace, and most of its patients.  That is one dirty boy!

Not only is Alex a slut, he is also, apparently a liar.  And Callie catches him in a real whopper.  As punishment, she forces him to perform the surgery he claimed to have already done by himself in an elevator shaft, even though that surgery was actually completed by Callie’s ex-hubby, the now deceased, George.

R.I.P. Dude!  The show hasn’t been the same since you left . . . really.

So, there you have it, folks.  A love letter to medicine, with three flashbacks, two sex scenes, lots of chocolate, and a shout out to an old friend.  Not bad for a single episode.

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Love, Hearts, and Dismembered Limbs (a.k.a. The Gushy Stuff): A Recap of Grey’s Anatomy’s “Valentine’s Day Massacre”

Let’s try a bit of free association, shall we?  What is the first word that comes to your mind when you think of Valentine’s Day?    Is it “love,” “hearts,” “relationships,” “sex?”  Or, perhaps your single, and the words you think about instead are “darkness,” “depression,” “drunkeness,” and “binge-eating”?

Actually, the word that comes to my mind is none of the above.  Rather, it is “pressure.”  For guys, Valentine’s Day inevitably brings with it the pressure to “impress your significant other.”  For girls, there is the pressure to “define your relationship.”  For singles, there is pressure to “obliterate the evening in as painless a way as possible.” 

But it’s not only humans who experience pressure on Valentine’s Day, television shows do too – particularly television shows based primarily on relationships.  These shows experience the pressure to be even sappier and mushy-gushier than they normally are.  And for an often sappy, mushy-gushy, show like Grey’s Anatomy, that is one tall order!

So, how did the Valentine’s Day-themed installment of Grey’s Anatomy do?  Let’s take a close  look at the candy conversation hearts that made up this episode, to find out . . .

“Eat Your Heart Out”

Someone once said that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  (And here,  I always thought she was referring to heart disease . . . go figure.)  However, in this Grey’s episode, it was not the males, but the females , who showed their love through eating. 

When the episode opens, McDreamy is informed that one of  his first duties as “Nu-Chief” is to attend a hoity toity fundraiser breakfast.  As if it wasn’t bad enough that Derek would be expected to take time out of his busy “saving lives” schedule to eat donuts and beg for money, as his “Post-It Wife,” Meredith was expected to go too.  And those of you who have seen Meredith know that eating is not exactly her strong suit . . .

At first, Meredith declines to attend the breakfast because she despises food has important surgeries to attend to.  Things change when she meets a married couple and their doting waiter, all of whom were seriously injured during a restaurant roof collapse.  The waiter slips Karev a $50 to ensure that his bed is placed next to the wife of the  couple.  That’s one well-paid waiter, if he has spare $50’s lying around his pockets!  Just saying . . .)

When he thinks the wife is sleeping, the waiter explains how he has known this woman for 15 years.  Apparently, she used to dine alone with him each week, order ing something different from the menu every time.  The waiter soon fell in love with this woman. 

Unforunately, all is not fair in love and eating.  One day, the woman brought her soon-to-be husband to the restaurant as her date.  She continued coming back to the restaurant each week, and the waiter was forced to watch the couple’s courtship.  It was he who helped the husband to propose by placing  the wife’s engagement ring in the crème brule. 

Through the years,  the waiter watched as the husband began to order food for the wife — the same item each week. Inevitably, the couple’s conversation began to dwindle and lessen.  Soon they didn’t speak to one another at all.

When the waiter finally closes his eyes, the wife opens hers and winks at Meredith to let her know that she has heard everything the waiter said.  The wife admits that she had also fallen in love with the waiter.  That’s why she came back to the restaurant each week.  Because complex surgeries are clearly insufficient to occupy the minds of these brilliant doctors, Karev and Meredith begin to make bets as to which party will express their love for one another first, using the $50 the waiter initially gave Karev.

Unfortunately, there is no time for long-winded speeches for these star-crossed foodies.  Complications plague both the husband and the waiter and, in an event that only happens on television, the two men are rushed into surgery simultaneously.  When inquiring as to their status, the wife admits to Meredith that she waited for the waiter for a long time.  But, finally, she made a choice.  She chose her husband, and she loved him dearly.

Ultimately, the waiter dies, the husband lives, and, as a result of the wife’s “Choose your husband” speech, Meredith decides to go to the fundraising breakfast after all.  (So, a poor waiter had to DIE to convince you to eat a donut.  Real nice, Meredith.  REAL NICE!)

“At least it was a worthy cause!  Mmmmmm . . . donuts!”

“Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve” (And your sleeve on your thigh . . .)

Remember the television show Felicity, where the titular character got dumped, cut her hair short, and single-handedly ruined the series in the process?

Well, apparently, Lexie, who has just been dumped by Mark “the Hypocrite” Sloan, was too busy studying to watch much television.  When a newly-single Mark approaches a young blonde doctor to hit on her, he is disturbed to find that the “young blonde” is Lexie.  And, you know what?  As much as I hate to say it, I actually like her new look . . .

After teasing her about her renegade appearance change (he called her Surgical Barbie), the lone likeable Mercy Wester (or Doctor Hotness, as I like to call him), challenges Lexie not just to change her mousy appearance, but to also change her mousy personality.  Coming from someone less attractive, that remark would be considered D-bagishly insensitive.  However, coming from Doctor Hotness . .  .

 . . . .

Sorry . . . I was fantasizing about Doctor Hotness and lost my train of thought.  Wait . . . what was I saying?

“Now that you mention it, I can definitely see a resemblance . . .”

Surgical Barbie  Lexie gets the opportunity to meet Doctor Hotness’s challenge, when a shy loner dishwasher from the same restaurant where the husband and wife used to dine, comes into the ER with a severed arm.  Apparently, the dishwasher was so forgettable that the dude sat armless and unttended to for hours, while his unattached arm lay lifeless in a sink nearby.  The dishwasher pleads with Lexie to salvage his arm.  “I just want to be normal,” he cries.

When the residents explain that there is no way that the dishwasher’s arm can be salvaged, Lexie uses her photographic memory to call to mind a special procedure whereby a severed body part is fused to another body part until it heals.  In a strongly worded speech, Lexie demands that extraordinary measures be taken to save this patient’s arm.  “That was definitely not mousy,” commends Doctor Hotness, in what had to be the biggest backhanded compliment a man has ever given a woman.

Unforunately, no good deed goes unpunished.  When the desperate-to-be-normal dishwasher wakes up to find that the doctors have attached his arm to his leg, he is absolutely horrified and furious.  “You made me into a freak!”  He yells.

However, Lexie calms him down by explaining to him that after this surgery, the dishwasher will no longer be ignored like he once was.  Instead, he will be “special and unique.”  Most importantly, after he sues the pants off the restaurant, he will also be rich. 

So, Happy Valentine’s Day to the No-Longer Mousy, Surgical Barbie and the Richly Unique Dishwasher Freak! 

“Love Means Never Having to Say I Killed a Patient . . .”

If you recall, at the conclusion of last week’s episode, Nu-Chief McDreamy rehired the formerly fired April, who was let go from Seattle Grace, after making a careless error that resulted in a patient’s death.  Now she’s back and is lodged so far up Nu-Chief’s butt, that you can’t tell where one ends and another begins.  Naming herself as Shepherd’s unofficial assistant, April follows McDreamy around like a lost puppy — reading him his schedule, picking out his clothing for him, and even going to his home to pick out Meredith’s clothing for her.

When McDreamy calls her out on this, April breaks down, admiting that, since the incident, she has been deathly afraid (no pun intended) to perform surgery.  April still hasn’t come to terms with the loss of the patient she killed.  In fact, she relives the traumatic experience every day.  For that reason, she fears that she is not a good doctor. 

Taking on the fatherly role previously held by Old Chief McDrunky (who was completely absent during this episode), McDreamy explains that it is April’s good heart and empathetic soul that make her a good doctor.    Awwww!

“My Daddy is MY Valentine!”

In other fatherly news, Pregnant Little Sloan has returned from her stint on Private Practice  dangerous operation.  As soon as she has returns, she tricks Callie into giving her a free sonogram.  Little Sloan then asks Callie for a “piece of paper” proving that her baby is healthy.  When Callie demands to know why Little Sloan needs such a document, Little Sloan admits that she plans to give her baby up for adoption.

Callie is horrified that Little Sloan would keep this a secret from Papa McSteamy, and demands that she comes clean to him.  Bratty Little Sloan declines to do so.  In fact, she only admits her secret, after Callie threatens to tell McSteamy on her own. 

Stunned by how attached he has grown to his unborn grandson, McSteamy shocks everyone by offering to raise it himself.  Then Callie shocks everyone again by offering to help raise the baby.   It’s all a bit  . . . shocking.

“Diapers cost HOW MUCH?”

The Gay/Straight baby raising storyline didn’t work on Will and Grace, and probably wouldn’t work here.  Shondra Rhimes undoubtedly sensed this (just as she sensed what an annoying character Little Sloan has turned out to be), and proceeded to murder the prospective storyline within a few moments of its presentation.  Little Sloan declines her papa’s generous offer and sneaks out of town without even telling him goodbye.

Good riddens, I say!

“Ménage a trois?’

Tired of being given the cold shoulder by Owen,  since her unfortunate drunken confession of love for him, Teddy, in a burst of uncharacteristic girlishness, approaches Owen and proceeds to babble uncontrollably about loneliness, puppies and bikini waxes.  Ahhh, yes . . . of course!   There is no better way to get a boy to like you, than to smother him with girl talk. 

Ummm . . . Teddy?  If your former boyfriend used to listen to you talking like this, it was only because you were sleeping with him.  F.Y.I.  No straight guy wants to hear about bikini waxes from a woman who isn’t giving him sex .  . .

When this approach doesn’t work (shocker), Teddy tries another one.  She approaches Owen and Christina together.  (I’m liking this method better already . . .). 

However, instead of propositioning them for a threesome (darn), she simply offers them her hand in friendship.  While Teddy recognizes that it is nearly impossible to “unring the bell” of a drunken love confession and repair a broken friendship, she vows to “try like hell.” 

Because, I really like this character, I hope she succeeds . . . (and, ultimately, gives us fans the threesome we so deserve for putting up with this show for as long as we have).

“Let’s Go Speed Dating!”

Eventually, it must have occurred to Shondra that none of the storylines in this “Valentine’s Day” episode of Grey’s were all that romantic.  Recognizing that all of her current couples were either “mature and established” or “in the midst of a breakup,” Shondra succumbed to the pressure and decided to advance a brand new, fledgling, relationship at warp speed . . .

If you recall, last week I was giddy with anticipation for the inevitable coupling of tough-as-nails Bailey with the Sexy McGas Man.  After all, there is nothing I love more than to swoon over the first signs of companionate game-playing and torturous unrequited love — both in real life, and on my television screen. 

Mmmmmm . . .  the longing looks, the heated arguments, the cat and mouse games, the inevitable jealousy when one of the pair finds someone new who is completely wrong for them, the close encounters that almost go there . . . but don’t.  And, finally, (after an entire season of will they, won’t they?) a hot and steamy makeout session that devolves into coupledom.  It makes me weak in the knees just thinking about it   . . .

Unforunately, Shondra Rhimes burst my sexy balloon within seconds of the episode’s opening, by having Gas Man immediately ask Bailey out on a date.  When she initially turned him down, I gave a big sigh of relief.   “There may be hope for this non-couple/ couple yet,”  I thought. 

But then stupid Arizona had to go and screw things up!  Poopy Head started egging the couple on, like the catty middle school girl she really is.  And, to my chagrin, it worked.  By the end of the episode, Bailey admits to Mc Gas Man, “I like you.”

She then agrees to go on a date with him.    (Hasn’t anyone told Shondra that sometimes the build up is better than the climax?)

Oh well!  I guess I will have to rely on my own life for unrequited love and sexual tension.  Tomorrow is, after all, Singles Awareness Day . . .

 

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